I think I speak for everyone in this van when I say I’m feeling pretty exhausted. Not only are our bodies protesting at the punishing schedule we’ve endured over the past 6 weeks but so is our gear. My D.I. Box is missing switches, my fuzz pedal finally gave up after years of service and last night I may have blown a speaker. It has become commonplace to see Mr Sayer operating on his guitar between soundcheck and gig. It’s guts spilling out as he pokes around the electrical arteries with a soldering iron. We’ve seen amps come and go, snares break and it’s a wonder that Damon’s drum kit is still standing. Despite this, we battle on, entering venues, blowing the roof off them and leaving like, as Ian Graham succinctly put it the other day, “The navy seals of Rock’n’Roll” – I’m sure the actual navy seals might disagree.
U.S.A. Tour Diary – Portland to Boston
We have one more show now before a much needed week off to recouperate and nurse our road worn equipment back to health before resuming our mission. Tonight’s show is New York City! As we drive from Boston towards the Big Apple, there is a sense of both excitement and disbelief. To be playing New York with a band that was started only a few years ago as an antidote to our “day jobs” of playing for other artists is a dream come true. Due to constraints of the space time continuum – and internet access, by the time you read this diary entry, the New York show will have happened and we’ll have scattered in all directions like animals being released into the wild. I’ll write an account of our New York experience on the plane home but for now, I’ll fill you in on the last couple of days.
After arriving in our Portland hotel, we were in need of sustenance. Unable to muster up the energy required to go in search of something involving the van, myself, Paul, Luke and Iain met downstairs in the hotel restaurant. The menu was encouraging, especially for Iain who has been a strict vegetarian for 23 years. It has been tricky at times for poor Iain on this tour as vegetarianism is regarded as some type of mental illness in a lot of the establishments we’ve eaten and as a result, his options have been limited. So, when he spied “vegan chilli” on the menu, it was a done deal. It sounded so tasty that I also ordered it. When it arrived it was indeed tasty and it wasn’t until halfway through our meal that we discovered the secret ingredient – beef! Needless to say, Iain was not impressed and much apologising and cancelling of bills took place. Portland fully redeemed itself the next day with possibly the best food of the tour so far. The whole day was an eatathon of tasty delights culminating in an aftershow lobster roll courtesy of Karen who had arrived at the gig bearing boxes full of the crustacean loaded buns which we squirrelled away in a fridge for a post show snack. Growing up, I had always regarded lobster as a luxury food and one that you would never order in a restaurant if someone else was paying as it would often be the priciest item on the menu yet here we were, stuffing seafood hotdogs in our faces like there was no tomorrow. They were incredible!
From Portland we drove to Boston. The House of Blues in Boston is a fantastic 2,400 capacity venue situated right opposite Fenway Park – home of the Red Sox baseball team. It’s always a bonus when you get to park right by the venue entrance and there is extra muscle on hand to help load the gear in. Once we got it all in the building, we went for a little walkabout. We’d already lost Damon who’d earlier jumped out of the van in search of a shoe twattery and Paul was busy trying to repair an amp but Potashnick, Campbell and I ended up on Newbury St in the Trident bookstore and Café doing guess what?…Eating! Our waitress was an interesting hybrid of hipster/geek perfectly befitting a café in a bookstore and pretty much told us what we’d be eating. I like it when waiters or waitresses have strong opinions on the food they’re serving. I can be pretty indecisive as i usually want to eat everything so any help in narrowing it down is appreciated. She made good choices for us and we were soon slipping into blissful food comas once again. We dragged ourselves back to the venue for soundcheck.
After a fine show and a glorious 8 hours of untroubled sleep, we awoke to find that our old nemesis, the snow had made a return appearance. He was busy swirling around outside, covering everything in white and making a nuisance of himself. He’s definitely outstayed his welcome on this tour like a drunk guest at a party – fun at first but then you just wish he’d fuck off.
So Manhattan has just appeared on the horizon and we’ve all just done as millions before us have at the first glimpse of the familiar skyline. Altogether now! “Dah, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah. Start Spreading the news….”